Sunday, May 23, 2010

And Speaking of the Bard

As I mentioned last week in a look at John Austen's Hamlet, the new Dover Fall '10 list has been released, and there are a number of titles there that will be of interest to VIEW readers.
Aside from the great reprints on the Calla Editions list, I have two new compilation titles that will bring some beautiful works to light as well. The first one on its way is Shakespeare Illustrated. This volume will contain works from classic volumes of golden age illustration, as well as some of the iconic imagery produced in gallery painting from the mid and late nineteenth-century. The section on A Midsummer Night's Dream, probably the most illustrated of Shakespeare's works, will feature works from Arthur Rackham and William Heath Robinson alongside paintings from Fuseli and Millais. Hard to find work by Norman Price, to J. W. Waterhouse...
Shakespeare Illustrated will have potential to appeal to illustration fans, Shakespeare fans, and set designers and costumers who deal with Shakespeare's plays will have a great resource of visual information, all to pull from this single volume. Images in this work will be arranged by play, as opposed to artist, which should provide interesting comparisons and interpretations, appearing side-by-side. Scheduled publication date is January, 2011.


Aside from the Austen Hamlet, my fave on the new Calla Edition reprint list is probably René Bull's Arabian Nights, which I looked at on VIEW almost a year ago. Check out that listing here.


Look for me at BEA, (Book Expo America) on Thursday!


Top To Bottom:
Charles Robinson, The Songs and Sonnets of William Shakespeare, 1915
William Heath Robinson, A Midsummer Night's Dream, 1914
Arthur Rackham, A Midsummer Night's Dream, 1908
Edmund Dulac, The Tempest, 1908
Norman Price, Tales from Shakespeare, 1908(?)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Royal Treatment for the Bard

Feeling a bit like an elf must feel on December 26th—the task of setting out a bigger list of cover designs for our Fall 2010 catalog is behind us. (If you don't know, I'm part of a team that designs over 500 new covers a year for Dover) In what I believe is our biggest list ever, there are at least six books that I will discuss here on VIEW in the coming weeks. Many won't see publication for a few months, but they are all in the works. A few of these are new titles that will be appearing in our Calla line. Most Calla titles are near facsimiles to early or first editions that appeared a century ago.

Calla is a line that Dover started a little over a year ago, the brainchild of Dover's current president. The line is near to my heart, for obvious reasons. It's aim is to produce beautifully crafted books, like so much of the material that I go through to put monographs together. Hardcovers, foil stamping, endpapers; the features that make books special— and great stories with even better illustrations. Their pricing is reasonable, and they are produced entirely within the US.

First one I want to look at is Shakespeare's drama, Hamlet. A great and classic story, but widely available. What makes this edition special?— The amazing line illustrations of John Austen. Austen had entered illustration as a career later than most—his first illustrations not being published until he was 35—but he found an interesting track working in a similar style to one of his artistic idols, Aubrey Beardsley. The twist, is that this group of images is something of a bridge between Beardsley's complex design-heavy style, and the influence of Art Deco on illustration in 1922. It was indeed a turning point for Austen, who began to simplify further after this project, never returning to the level of involvement that some of these images contain. It's a beautiful package from cover to cover. I'll get back to you shortly with a release date.

I'm attending BEA (BookExpo America) for the first time this year. I'll be around the Dover booth, but out prowling the floor too, on May 27th.

The book has been announced for a September 16th release, at $25.00

Monday, May 10, 2010

...and, we're back

Wow. It has been an incredibly long time since my last post, and in truth, I'm still pulling together this week's info. The good news, is that there is news. We are just about at a point where I can announce some of the new titles from the upcoming season of releases at Dover, and there are a few titles that will be of interest to fans of vintage illustration. There is almost always a title on every biannual list that deserves mention, but this season is especially strong for friends of this area of art. I'm taking the unusual route of making a post without some accompanying images to just say- hang in there, I'll be right with you— and to acknowledge a difficult loss for illustration fans.

News came to me this evening of the passing of Frank Frazetta. If there was an artist alive who was the bridge between the Golden Age of illustration, and today's fantastic imagery, it was Frazetta. The splash his work made was so big, it was felt at every edge of the pond. His definitive images of Robert Howard characters will forever bear his moody colors, and his deep, dark shadows. His imagery was sword-and-sorcery. Every 40 or 50-something year old fantasy illustrator working today owes something to Frank Frazetta, for the influence he had early on, and continues to have today. He will be remembered as one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century, maybe not tomorrow, but time will bear this out. Thanks for everything, Mr. Frazetta.

Be back in a day or three with this week's regular post. —Jeff